Community bids farewell in a drive-thru celebration

PASO ROBLES — As of Apr. 16, Tom Frutchey has officially retired as Paso Robles City Manager after over 49 years in public and private service.

After five years of being Paso Robles City Manager, Frutchey decided it was time to slow down, retire, and let someone else take his place.

So what is next for Frutchey?

He and his wife are planning to spend more time with their grandchildren in Camarillo and take a few months to recharge and “veg out.”

“What I want to do is volunteer–working on democracy in America because we’ve got issues. We’ve all been blessed by being born in this country and this era, and just looking around, I think we’ve forgotten how lucky we are and how it’s absolutely crucial that we invest in democracy and we invest in our communities and the people who need help,” says Frutchey.

Frutchey was introduced to Paso Robles when his wife had to visit the area several times for work. When the city manager position opened up, he decided to apply.

Mayor Steve Martin said, “I think the thing that impressed me the most when it came to appointing him was I think number one he’s got a very varied background. He is not just public service. He has a very strong experience in the private sector, in business.”

Police officers, firefighters, citizens, and other city departments came by the city hall to give their farewell to Frutchey at his “goodbye drive-thru.”

The Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services awarded Frutchey with a bronze firefighter helmet for his “outstanding service and dedication to the citizens of Paso Robles.”

The award read a quote that Frutchey added to the swearing-in oath for public officials and service members, “For leaving the city of Paso Robles greater and better than when it was entrusted to you.”

That very saying was something that Mayor Martin admired about Frutchey.

“I think he’s done that–were better down than when he was first hired,” said Martin.

Frutchey passed out cards, and small thank you tokens to those something to say goodbye to him. His appreciation for the town is evident.

“Paso is special because it has that spirit of community and the spirit of family,” said Frutchey.

Frutchey admires the current city council’s ability to work together despite their differences.

“This is a very special city council. I say that because they have different political philosophies, they have different approaches, they have core constituencies that are different, but all five of them do it for what’s best for the community in the long run, number one–They work hard to find a path that all of them can agree to even though they are on a full spectrum of political philosophies–that is so rare these days,” says Frutchey.

Unfortunately, Frutchey will be unable to be a part of selecting the new city manager.

Applications for the position ends at the end of May, and recruiters already feel they have some great candidates for the City.

“Tom Frutchey is leaving very big shoes to fill, which means it’s our responsibility to find someone with very big feet to find them–I expect we’ll find somebody who is very successful in their own way,” Martin said.

Frutchey’s advice for his future replacement is “Anybody who takes this job needs to recognize how special a place this is and build on the strengths of the people–whether it’s staff or the council or people in the community they give and they give, and they give and many times my job is to get out of the way and let people do what they love for the community they love.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles